This Secret We’re Keeping [review]

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done


A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?

Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley. After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment. Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.

With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present? From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

[My Rating]

So I really didn’t know what to expect from this book; I had purposefully not read much about it but the synopsis really intrigued me. As I carried on reading, I got even more intrigued – and then, by the time the ‘secret’ is revealed, I was really engaged and interested in the characters.

Rebecca Done has done a really great job of creating characters you care about, but that are also flawed and realistic. They seem like real people, and that’s why I really enjoyed this novel.

It really made me think about what I’d do in both Jess and Matthew’s positions – and their parents’ and friends’ too! I felt like Matthew and Jess made such a great couple but then sometimes had to remind myself that Matthew was breaking the law by having a sexual relationship with Jess, especially as a teacher in a position of authority and trust! It really makes you question things though as you can understand how happy they are together and it makes you wonder, was he really ‘abusing’ her? I wouldn’t say so but according to the law he is, and if I didn’t know the full story behind another couple in a similar position, I’d probably feel that the adult in that position was also a paedophile. It’s a real minefield and it’s certainly emotional at times.

I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it if you’re looking for something to make you question your own values and make you think. It’s ultimately a pretty easy read but I really enjoyed it, so that makes it a really good read in my book!

[Rating: 4/5]

Have you read This Secret We’re Keeping? If so, what did you think?

Many thanks to Penguin & Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.


  1. This is a hard one with the subject matter but I bet it can make an interesting read with lots of opportunities for misunderstandings and high emotions.

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